United Nations Secretary – General’s Call to Hope

Photo Screenshot from news.un.org video: Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the opening of the general debate of the UN General Assembly’s 77th session.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned last week that “With people from all points of the globe crying out for relief and hope, international action on major challenges – from climate to conflict and securing sustainable development – is paralyzed by dysfunction and held hostage to geopolitical tensions.” he went on call on the world to “overcome divisions and provide hope in a place of turmoil.”

It is wonderful to see world leaders beginning to promote the importance of hope. Yet while this call for hope is commendable, it lacks one important component: it doesn’t teach people the “how-to” of hope. We cannot just tell people to be hopeful; we must give them the skills they need to create, maintain, and grow hope. 

Guterres went on to say, “Our world is in peril and paralyzed by political divides that were undermining the work of the Security Council, international law, trust and people’s faith in democratic institutions, and all forms of international cooperation.” 

Guterres clearly identifies the two ingredients of hopelessness: peril (emotional despair) and paralysis (motivational helplessness). When you experience hopelessness, you are forced into flight, fight, freeze, or fawn mode, and you cannot access the problem-solving, rationality, and positive feelings of hope. When you are in a persistent state of hopelessness, you are more likely to turn to harmful behaviors, such as violence, addiction, and suicide. 

It is why we MUST start educating on the “how-to” of hope. Hope is a learnable, teachable skill that can be activated on the individual, community, and global levels. Individuals can use the Five Keys to SHINE Hope™ to activate hope in their daily routines. Communities can utilize hope initiatives, such as the Hopeful Cities Playbook, to spread hope community-wide. Governments can work together to issue proclamations, fund hope campaigns, promote the International Day of Hope, and spread hope around the world. 

Today, help us answer Guterres’ call to hope by:

You can find out more about the power of hope, the impact of hopelessness, and the Science of Hope at www.ifred.org

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About Kathryn

Kathryn Goetzke has over 30 years of experience in marketing, branding, and strategy. She was recently appointed to be a representative at the United Nations for the World Federation for Mental Health. Kathryn is the Founder of iFred, the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression, through which she created Hopeful Minds and Hopeful Cities, two programs dedicated to sharing the “how-to” of hope with children, parents, and communities globally. Kathryn presented at Harvard University, the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Never Alone Summit. Hopeful Minds was featured in a documentary by the BBC, and her products and projects have been featured in global media.

Kathryn is a Partner at Innovative Analysis, LLC, where she consults businesses on activating hope in the workplace, and created a college program Hopeful Mindsets, a marketing strategy and course for college students to activate hope on campus. She is the author of the Biggest Little Book About Hope and host of The Hope Matrix Podcast. In her role as Chief Mood Officer at The Mood Factory, she created the first nationwide cause marketing campaign for mental health through her brand Mood-lites, which achieved over 35M in retail sales. Ms. Goetzke serves on advisory boards for FundaMentalSDG, Y Mental Health, Women’s Brain Project, and the Global Mental Health Movement.

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